I had a bad day yesterday.
Two days after the breast cancer diagnosis and it had started to sink in.
To distract myself, I took #1 (who is on half term) shopping on the King's Road. I was doing fine until I passed one of my favourite shops. It's a boot shop which has been there for about thirty years. It always has kick ass cowboy boots in the window, and it's - quite brilliantly - called R. Soles. (Say it out loud).
Now R. Soles is gone. Boarded up. And I suddenly felt unbearably sad. #1 couldn't understand why I was weeping over a boot shop closing down. But, obviously, it wasn't about the boots.
Then I had to go back to hospital for an MRI scan. None of this is as simple as it sounds, as it involves finding someone to look after #1, and to pick up #2 and #3 from school, cook them supper and supervise homework.
Mr SM took a half day off to hold the fort, but that meant me going by myself.
I can already see the next few months requiring more of the endless juggling, favour pulling and passing the poor kids from pillar to post, when all they want is their Mum to be there, as normal, acting normal.
The MRI scan basically involved lying on my front with my boobs in two giant buckets (made for better endowed ladies than I), then being pushed into a tunnel resembling something out of Star Trek.
You have to lie still for 45 minutes, so you close your eyes and try to sleep, but it's so noisy it's like trying to snooze in the middle of a motorway or building site.
As I sat on the tube (underground train) on my way home, a giant wave of general bleurgh hit me, and silent tears started dripping down my face. This sort of behaviour in the country that invented the stiff upper lip is generally not acceptable, and is likely to get you arrested or sectioned.
Luckily, the general code of conduct on the tube is to ignore everything and everyone. Pretend you haven't seen it (whatever 'it' is).
(I once saw a man on the tube dressed in a smart suit and carrying a briefcase during morning rush hour. He'd obviously been on a bender the night before as he'd gone green. Everyone sitting around him was looking nervous. Eventually he put his briefcase on his lap, opened it, vomited into it, closed it again and carried on as normal. No-one said a word).
So there I was, weeping on the tube, being ignored like the vomiting commuter, and the wine witch was having a field day:
No-one would blame you if you had a drink! It's medicinal for f***s sake. When you quit you never expected this to happen....
I really, really needed a drink. I needed to take the edge off. I needed to escape for a while. I needed to give myself a treat, and since I've completely lost my appetite, chocolate cake just doesn't cut it any more.
But, at the same time, I know that I need a drink like a hole in the head (or in the left boob, in my case). Because just one drink wouldn't even begin to hit the spot. It would be a whole bottle. And then it would be a whole bottle every day until this has all gone away which - even in the best case scenario - is months into the future.
And there's nothing that breast cancer likes more than alcohol....
So, I used the old 'early days of sobriety' trick. I had a hot bath and went to bed early with a hot chocolate and a crappy novel.
After months of sleeping like a log (see Sleep, Glorious Sleep for more on how drinking screws up your shut-eye), I'm now becoming re-acquainted with my old friend: 3am.
(I went on some breast cancer support forums and, predictably, they were littered with advice to 'pour yourself a stiff vodka').
I've been awake for the last 5 hours fretting about my meeting with the consultant today to discuss my biopsy and MRI results, operation date and treatment plan.
I just don't want the news to get any worse.
Wish me luck x